In a world increasingly preoccupied with throwaway materialistic things; where people are constantly busy earning money to pay for those things, or so their children can have those things;
This is the story of my dreams of travelling the world by bicycle. Because it's there. And because I dont want to die without experiencing the truly important things in life .

A sense of wonder and a sense of adventure.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Extreme Thermal Tights

The first signs of winter have arrived in NZ. This week snow feel in the Highlands and even some southern coastal towns had a dump of the white stuff. I went out on my bike as normal in Nelson but the cold made me wonder what sort of leg protection I might need in northern Norway when I cycle through next September. I've hunted for blogs that might give me some idea but to date have only found travel accounts of people who have done the trip in June or mid summer. Even these writings suggest that tights may not be sufficient and that over trousers could be needed if the weather in Lapland turns nasty. I really don't want to buy over trousers because for one thing I've never cycled anywhere where I have needed them before and secondly I can see that after the trip I'm unlikely to ever use them again. Before our cold snap here I was prepared to go with a new set of tights and leg warmers for less cold times.
Ski Pants Trial...Take  One.

Rummaging through the cupboard at home I came across a pair of ski pants that I hadn't used for twenty years.  They were tight I remembered ,when I bought them from a second hand ski sale back then,so I wasn't surprised when they were even tighter when I tried them on this time around. I considered that if I cut off an inch or two of hip bone I may be able to have them on the recommended setting but since that's not an option I made do with the last adjustment point. I recall that I got them very cheap all those years ago because they were a kids sizing. I thought if I could make them work on the bike, they may be an answer to my problem. I've never heard anyone suggest using ski pants for cycling but then most people are followers and not try ers. They would certainly be warm and waterproof where required. And unlike over trousers they are tight, no arguments there.
Take Two.
So out in the cold I went yesterday to cover my 150km circuit. The temperature was about 12C when I left and about 5C when I finally got home. The ski pants flare at the bottom clearly designed to go over ski boots. This was no problem as I had cycling over booties on. The trousers tucked into them. Being made of a sort of neoprene material they matched my Campagnolo training jacket and had extra material over the knees. Normally for the first 100kms of my ride energy wise I need no more than a bowl of cornflakes and a couple of spoonfuls of sugar  washed down with a bit of cream. But 15kms before my lunch stop I had completely hit the wall.  I put this state of grovel down to the increased resistance in my pants.

 Downing an extra chocolate bar or punnet of fries should, I hope ,take care of that. During the final part of the ride when temps were low I was amazed to find that ca rearing down Rae ' s Saddle with the cold wind finding it's way through my winter training jacket and vest , I felt no cool air at all on my legs!
So, for piece of mind ,I think regardless of the extra weight involved I will take those ski pants to Scandinavia.
What's that Hamish?

Last week a few friends came over for a bit of a get together. During the evening Hamish asked me if I wanted what looked on first inspection to be a lead sinker for a fishing line. I haven't fished since I was a kid ,with my father. And I have to say that even back then I found the whole experience rather awkward, doubly so in fact as Dad decided to use the time together as an opportunity to instill in me the facts of life. I mean I didn't need any education in that area as me and my mates had learnt all we needed too on frequent trips with our bikes to the local industrial dump. The place was littered with that sort of educational material. I was initially slightly bewildered , but Hamish quickly explained what the little cycle doodacky was for. Although I had heard back in the 1970's that something like this existed I'd never seen one in real life. Friends would tell me  back in the 70's that girls would kiss you behind the bike sheds but I didn't believe that either.
Anyway here's a picture of it. Any guesses as to what it's for?

I was just thinking cycling home from the supermarket today ,having filled the cycle trailer to bursting ,how much fun normal people miss out on. It's not normally in my nature to feel sorry for MrJoe Public ,as he has made his own choices, but cycling along and feeling self righteous on a beautiful day I just happen to spy a feigoa hedge. And you wouldn't guess it, it was heavy with another man's fruit. On closer inspection that man appeared to not be about. And that man if ever about was clearly also not interested in bending down to harvest his bounty. So while 'Vespa Chick 'stood watch 'Niel the Wheel' filled a couple of empty bread bags and then the two 'happy go luckys 'made their escape.
Old School Freewheel Remover for an Old school Sort of a Guy.

As Mr Retro-Man I like Hamish' s little doodacky so much that if I don't use a set of wheels with a screw on cluster for the Scandi trip I most  certainly will for my trip next year. The idea if you haven't guessed it is,( once bolted as in the picture ), to  lock the prongs into a Crack,  crevice or some body's picket fence and then turn your cluster off so that you can replace the broken spoke you've acquired or service the bearing that's playing up. I could have used something like this on my 2013 tour across Canada when my rear hub gave up the ghost. It wouldn't have saved the day ,as my hub was toast ,but it would have been fun impressing the locals.

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